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Peeler (A)

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Slang for a policeman; so called from Sir Robert Peel, who reconstructed the police system. Bobby, being the nickname of Robert, is applied to the same force. (See Bobby.)

Peeler. It is an extraordinary circumstance that this word, now applied to a policeman or thief-catcher, was in the sixteenth century applied to robbers. Holinshed, in his Scottish Chronicle (1570), refers to Patrick Dunbar, who “delivered the countrie of these peelers.” Thomas Mortimer, in his British Plutarch; Milton, in his Paradise Regained (book iv.); and Dryden, all use the word “peeler” as a plunderer or robber. The old Border towers were called “peels.” The two words are, of course, quite distinct.

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Entry taken from Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, edited by the Rev. E. Cobham Brewer, LL.D. and revised in 1895.

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Peculiar
Peculiars (The Court of)
Peculium
Pecuniary
Pedagogue
Pedlar
Pedlar’s Acre (Lambeth)
Pedlars French
Peebles
Peel
Peeler (A)
Peep
Peep-o-Day Boys
Peeping Tom of Coventry
Peerage of the Apostles
Peers of the Realm
Peg or Peggy
Peg too Low (A)
Pegasos (Greek; Pegasus, Latin)
Pegg (Katharine)
Pegging Away (Keep)

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